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Five Reasons to Doubt a Global Flood

I wrote back in March about a creationist "fossil expert" who insisted a trove of fossil snails found in Tyler, Texas had been buried during Noah's flood. Why are the rest of the world's geologists not convinced? There are several reasons, but they all boil down to the same simple fact: A global flood would have given us a very different planet than the one we see.

  1. The Geological Column

    Young earth creationists (YECs) like to point to formations like the Grand Canyon as evidence of a global flood. The turbulent waters separated the different types of soil, they say, and the layers settled as the waters rose. But there's a serious problem with this logic: The Grand Canyon, like other formations, includes layers of desert sandstone between layers of marine sediments. It is impossible for the entire formation to have been laid down in one global flood. Grey Neyman of Old Earth Ministries explains the problem:

    The young earth scientist would have to explain how the water receded, then the sandstone formed, then the water came back and deposited the other layers. However, in the Biblical Flood account, the waters rose, then fell. There were no cyclic water levels, nor was there a massive amount of time during the flood for a desert environment to create a 315-foot thick rock layer.

  2. Salt Deposits

    Other areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico, have thick layers of salt. Salt deposits are created when water evaporates. Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth, writing for BioLogos, explain why this is a problem for flood geology:

    One might argue that the waters from the Flood could have evaporated to leave behind the salt deposits we see today, but there is a serious problem. The thousands of feet of sediment on top of the salt is also said to be from the Flood, meaning the flood waters cannot have evaporated to produce the salt and still be present and violent enough to transport thousands of feet of sediment to the same location. In other words, a single flood cannot be called upon to explain both the salt and the overlying sediment.

  3. Emissions from Volcanic Eruptions

    Among the deposits are layers of igneous rock, formed by volcanic eruptions. When volcanoes erupt, they release greenhouse gases. The number of eruptions necessary to produce all the igneous layers found in the geological column, if they all happened within the same year, would produce enough carbon dioxide (CO2) to kill Noah and his family. Glenn Morton, writing for Old Earth Ministries, has the details:

    How does this relate to the present atmosphere? Currently we are approaching 400 parts per million (ppm) CO2 in the atmosphere, yet the YEC scenario would produce an atmosphere that had AS A MINIMUM a CO2 level of 58,615 parts per million. Scientists are worried about a 600 ppm CO2 world next century, the YEC post flood world would create such a hot climate that all life would be destroyed. Yet amazingly, Creationists like Austin, Baumgardner, Wise, Snelling, Vardiman, Humphreys and Oard think that the post flood world would be glacially cold.

  4. Earth's Internal Temperature

    Industrial geologists looking for oil deposits use temperature differences in boreholes to determine the age of the sediment they're drilling through. It's kind of complicated, but Dr. Willy Fjeldskaar, writing for Age of Rocks, explains:

    The temperature of the sediments is caused by the heat flow from the inner regions of the Earth. If you put a kettle with water on a hot plate, it will take some time for the water to be heated. A certain amount of time is also needed to heat sediments from the time they were deposited until today. The amount of time needed depends on the flow of heat from the inner regions of the Earth and on the thermal properties of the sediments. Both the heat flow and the thermal properties are relatively well known.

    As the heat radiates up from the earth's core, the rocks in lower layers retain a certain percentage. The longer the rocks have been buried, the more heat they will have accumulated. In the short time span proposed by YECs, there's simply not enough time for the sediments to have reached the temperatures geologists find in the boreholes:

    We have seen that it is not possible to explain the measured temperature in these sediments on the assumption that the sediments are only some thousands of years old. Using measured properties of the sediments and conventional values for the Earth’s heat flow, we realize that the sediments must be considerably older than 1 million years.

  5. Earth's Water Supply

    The total amount of water on and in the earth is not nearly enough to produce a global flood. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe explains the problem:

    The four different Hebrew verbs used in Genesis 8:1-8 to describe the receding of the flood waters indicate that these waters returned to their original sources. In other words, the waters of the flood are still to be found within the aquifers and troposphere and oceans of planet Earth. Since the total water content of the earth is only 22 percent of what would be needed for a global flood, it appears that the Genesis flood could not have been global.

The world geologists see when they explore the earth is simply not a world that has been inundated by a global flood. Unless you're willing to accept the omphalos hypothesis, a global flood can't be fit into earth's history.

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